15 June 2021
VarmX appoints Dr. Jan Öhrström as CEO, and Dr. Alex Gold to Supervisory Board
Leiden, The Netherlands, 15 June 2021 – VarmX, a biotech company focusing on the development of innovative approaches for the reversal of anticoagulation, today announces the appointment of Dr. Jan Öhrström, as Chief Executive Officer, and of Dr. Alex Gold to the Company’s Supervisory Board. Dr. Öhrström will be succeeding Alexander Vos.
Dr. Öhrström has been Chairman of VarmX since November 2018. He brings international experience across both biotechnology and pharma to VarmX, having held management positions in large and mid-cap US and EU biopharmaceutical companies. He also has extensive experience in late-stage development, manufacturing and commercialization of blood coagulation factors, which will be critical as VarmX transitions into a clinical-stage company.
Dr. Öhrström was previously the CEO of ProFibrix, where he established its US branch in 2008, and led the company through an M&A process with The Medicines Company in 2013. He was also at ZymoGenetics from 2000 to 2007, where he was part of the management team that took ZymoGenetics public on Nasdaq, and served in various leadership positions at NovoNordisk in the EU and US from 1990 to 2000. In these roles, he was instrumental in the development and commercialisation of NovoSeven whilst at Novo Nordisk, Recothrom at ZymoGenetics, and the registration of RaplixaTM whilst at ProFibrix and The Medicines Company.
Current board positions include being Chairman of Onward Medical BV in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and at Blaze Bioscience in Seattle. Previously, he has held other board positions in private and public life science companies. In addition to his role as Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Öhrström will continue to serve as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at VarmX.
Dr. Alex Gold will be joining VarmX as an independent member of the Supervisory Board. Dr. Gold is a cardiologist and executive with particular expertise in the development of new cardiovascular therapeutics, including in the field of thrombosis. He also has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, and is currently serving as Chief Medical Officer of Sanifit Therapeutics.
Dr. Gold previously was SVP and Head of Clinical Development at Portola Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies in thrombosis and oncology. There, he was the clinical leader responsible for the NDA/MAA submission of BevyxXa (betrixaban), approved by FDA in 2017 as the first anticoagulant for prevention of venous thromboembolism in acutely ill medical patients, and the BLA/MAA submission for Andexxa (andexanet alpha), approved in 2018 for the reversal of anticoagulation in patients taking certain factor Xa inhibitors. Prior to Portola, he was Head of Clinical Development at Reata Pharmaceuticals, after 11 years at AstraZeneca, where his last position was as Executive Director and Development Brand Leader for Crestor® and Brilinta®.
Dr. Gold is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and previously was a visiting lecturer at Penn Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT). He has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation, and American Heart Journal.
Dr. Alex Gold said: “I’m very pleased to be joining the VarmX supervisory board. I look forward to supporting the Company to realise the potential of its lead compound, VMX-C001, in treating and preventing severe bleeding in patients taking oral factor Xa inhibitors.”
Dr. Jan Öhrström, CEO of VarmX, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Alexander Vos for his superb work as founding CEO of VarmX, taking the Company from an early-stage preclinical company to an IND-ready business. We wish him well in his new role . On behalf of the Board, I would also like to welcome Dr. Gold to VarmX. With his industry expertise, he will provide invaluable counsel for the Company as we enter into the clinical development trajectory for our lead programme.”
He added: “VarmX has built an excellent team and we are well funded from our substantial Series B round last year with a very strong investor syndicate. We have a promising programme in VMX-C001 as a treatment for severe bleeding in patients on oral anticoagulants. These are exciting times at VarmX, and I am looking forward to leading the Company as CEO, in addition to my role as Chairman.”
VarmX is a pharmaceutical spin-off from the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), founded in 2016 by Professor Pieter Reitsma, a world leading expert in hemostasis and thrombosis. VarmX’s lead compound VMX-C001 is a modified recombinant blood factor X based on the venom of the Australian brown snake, Pseudonaja textilis. The compound is being developed for the treatment of severe spontaneous bleeding in patients taking oral factor Xa inhibitors (FXa DOACs) as anticoagulation therapy. In July 2020, the Company raised €32m in a series B financing, supported by a strong syndicate of investors including Ysios Capital, INKEF Capital, Lundbeckfonden Ventures, LSP, BioGeneration Ventures and the regional economic development fund, InnovationQuarter. For more information: www.varmx.com.
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